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Open data: The researcher perspective

The Open Data report is a result of a year-long, co-conducted study between Elsevier and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), part of Leiden University, the Netherlands.  The study is based on a complementary methods approach consisting of a quantitative analysis of bibliometric and publication data, a global survey of 1,200 researchers and three case studies including in-depth interviews with key individuals involved in data collection, analysis and deposition in the fields of soil science, human genetics and digital humanities.

Open data report

Open data: The researcher perspective

Download the report opens in new tab/window

Key findings

  • 73% of academics surveyed said that having access to published research data would benefit their own research

  • 64% are willing to allow others to access their research data

  • 69% of survey respondents said sharing research data is important for doing research in their field

  • 34% of researchers surveyed do not publish their data at all; one third of survey respondents did not share data from their last project

  • There is an almost even split between researchers who believe there are no clear standards for citing published data (45%) and those who believe there are clear standards (41%)

  • 52% of respondents said that their institution does not provide funds to cover the costs of managing or archiving research data

  • Analysis of data publishing options revealed that dedicated data journals are minimally available but fast-growing

"The findings presented in this report helps us – as well as research leaders, university and government policy makers – better understand where pain points lie when it comes to the sentiment around and the reality of data sharing practices among researchers. These are invaluable insights for us to ensure researchers are given the tools and knowledge they need to successfully share their data."

Wouter Haak


Wouter Haak

Vice-President of Research Data Management Solutions at Elsevier

Survey open data

The underlying data for the three parallel, independent studies are open and publicly available for all from Mendeley Data which includes:

  • Quantitative analysis of bibliometric data

  • Global researcher survey

  • Case studies in fields of soil science, human genetics, and digital humanities

"The science system is undergoing a major transition: from a professional system where the researcher is in the lead, to an open innovation system with multiple stakeholders. One of the ambitions in the Dutch National Plan Open Science is to make research data available in a standardized way for reuse. The study presented here shows that this reality is still far away. It calls for stronger incentives and rewards to implement open data practices. It is time we address the fundamental questions around accessibility in order to being responsible to society. CWTS will continue to raise these issues."

Paul Wouter, Director of CWTS, Professor of Scientometrics


Paul Wouter

Director of CWTS, Professor of Scientometrics

About CWTS

The ambition of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)opens in new tab/window is to be a globally leading centre in science and technology studies with an emphasis on research evaluation, research management and science policy. CWTS aims to be unique not only in its diversity of theoretical approaches (e.g. citation and communication theories, neo-institutional theory, actor network theory) and methodological approaches (e.g. scientometrics, computer simulation, surveys, interviews, ethnography) but especially in the way these different approaches are combined and integrated.